Israel has proposed paying compensation to relatives of Turkish activists it killed during a raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship, in exchange for Ankara to give up lawsuits against the Israeli navy, officials said on Thursday.
"We made a compensation offer, and asked the Turks to do what needs to be done to address our legal concerns. We also want to see them return their ambassador and allow us to appoint a new ambassador in Ankara," an Israeli official told Reuters news agency.
"For now, however, there are still big obstacles."
Turkey and Israel is reportedly near agreement on wording of memo aimed at ending crisis; Erdogan demands Israel say it 'apologizes,' while Israel prefers to use the word 'regrets'.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed with senior advisers on Wednesday the content of a memo aimed at ending the crisis with Israel.
Most of the remaining points of contention concern the exact phrasing of Israel's apologies related to its raid on the flotilla. Erdogan demands that Israel say it "apologizes," while Israel prefers to use the word "regrets."
On Wednesday, Netanyahu adviser Ron Dermer said Israel and Turkey were discussing "the phrasing of a compromise that both sides can live with ... (and) that will get our relations with Turkey back on track and remove the whole affair from the international agenda".
During the consultations held in Erdogan's office, the permanent undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Feridun Sinirlioglu, updated the prime minister on the talks he'd held with Israeli UN envoy Yosef Ciechanover in Geneva earlier this week.
"Denial of legal responsibility"
Israel is refusing to use the word "apology." Israel has, however, agreed to express sorrow and regret over the killing of the Turkish activists on board.
According to Turkish and Israeli media, Israel wants the expression of sorrow and regret to be "humanitarian" and addressed toward the victims, rather than an official apology to the Turkish government to avoid legal cases. Erdogan, for his part, is demanding that Israel apologize "to the Turkish republic."
Israel also sees the compensation a "humanitarian" gesture, rather than an Israeli admission of legal responsibility for the killings.
The draft offers Turkey some $100,000 each to families of the activists shot dead by Israeli marines during the raid.
The rapprochement talks followed Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's dispatch of planes to help Israel battle a forest fire that raged out of control last week.
Erdogan on Tuesday renewed Turkey's terms. He repeated his demand that Israel-besieged Gaza's borders be opened.
"If there are those who want to start a new period, I repeat: They must accept their guilt, apologise and pay compensation. I say too that the embargoes, which have been eased but not enough, should be lifted," he told AK lawmakers.
Families of Turkish humanitarian aid workers dismissed any Israeli apology as formality and demanded the soldiers be tried for the killings on the Gaza aid ship.
Related news reports:Last Mod: 09 Aralık 2010, 14:18